International Space Station is powered by 120kW of solar cells


Dr. Seth Hubbard

Hubbard Seth

NanoPower PhotoVoltaics

Photovoltaic Research
The world demand for energy is dramatically increasing. At the same time there is a growing need to protect our environment by increasing energy efficiency and developing “green” energy sources. Every year our resources of arable land, non-renewable energy, rainforest, and clean air and water, all significantly diminish. The conversion of light from the sun into electrical energy is playing a very important role in our current challenge for alternative energy technologies, to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our research program opens new and exciting directions in the discovery of advanced materials and nanostructures to harvest energy. The strategy employed to make this outcome possible is through nanoscale and/or novel material synthesis, modeling, characterization, and fabrication of energy conversion devices.

My team’s expertise lies in vapor phase epitaxy (VPE) of III-V photovoltaic devices and nanostructures, novel photovoltaic structures such as the intermediate band solar cell, photovoltaic characterization as well as simulation and testing. Our work leverages student, faculty and industrial collaborators with a truly interdisciplinary nature spanning physics, engineering, materials science and chemistry.  In addition, we have strived to use this research to further strengthen our student’s training as well as enhance RIT educational outreach and industrial collaboration.  The results of our work are disseminated through both publication and collaboration with major photovoltaic and electronics manufacturers.  The outcome of our work could advance the state-of-the-art in device efficiency and lower cost for the conversion of light to electrical energy.

The mission of our research group is to accelerate scientific breakthroughs in the discovery of nanoscale materials and structures that will advance the frontier of the conversion of light to electricity. Our focus is new materials synthesis, device modeling and simulation, solar cell device fabrication and demonstrating proof-of-principle of devices that will deliver a major boost to the world’s pursuit of innovative and transformative energy conversion products.

The vision of our lab is to elevate the vast, and essentially free, solar energy resource to a viable and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.  We will do this by developing new paradigms for photovoltaic conversion that enable use of highly efficient materials at low cost.


  • To develop efficient low-cost solar cells
  • Train the next generation of engineers and scientists, to invent and develop knowledge of how to use our energy resources wisely and efficiently

Dr. Seth Hubbard, NPRL-Photovoltaic Team Leader, Associate Professor of Physics and Microsystems Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology.

Dr. Hubbard’s doctoral research consisted of studying the effects of materials properties and epitaxial device design on high power heterojunction field effect transistors grown using vapor phase epitaxy. He currently leads RIT’s NanoPower Research Laboratory

(– Photovoltaic (PV) team working on the epitaxial growth, fabrication and characterization of nanostructured solar photovoltaic devices.  The group was the first to have grown VPE based InAs QD solar cells and demonstrate a sub-bandgap absorption process as well as a short circuit current enhancement.  Through multiple state and federal grants, Dr. Hubbard is expanding his research capability by adding an MOCVD system to the Semiconductor Microfabrication Laboratory ( (summer 2015).

Dr. Hubbard has been the PI of over $5million in research funding and a Co-PI on another $5million of funded research efforts. Many of these grants have allowed him to fund both graduate and undergraduate students. He has been the advisor to 3 post-doctoral students, 8 PhD candidates and 10 MS- graduate students. He has also been a committee member for 11 PhD and 2 MS candidates.

Dr Hubbard serves the undergraduate community by offering co-ops/ internships and support for student senior cap-stone projects.

(Dr. Hubbard-CV.pdf)


  • Present2012

    Associate Professor of Physics & Microsystems Engineering

    College of Science/ College of Engineering, RIT

  • Present2006

    Assistant Professor of Physics & Microsystems Engineering

    College of Science/ College of Engineering, RIT

  • Present2009

    Graduate Faculty

    Center for Material Science & Engineering, RIT

  • Present2009

    Photovoltaics Group Lead

    NanoPower Research Laboratory, RIT

  • 20062005

    National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship

    NASA Glenn Research Center

  • 20051998

    Research Assistant

    University of Michigan

  • 19981996

    Research Assistant

    Case Western Reserve University

Education & Training

  • lvl 2005

    Ph.D.-Electrical Engineering

    University of Michigan

  • M.S. 1998

    M.S.-Electrical Engineering

    Case Western Reserve University

  • B.S. 1995


    Dexel University


  • Present2011

    Editor, IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics

  • Present2014

    Tutorials Chair, 40th IEEE PVSC

  • 20132011

    Publications Chair, 38th and 39th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference

  • Present2007

    Peer reviewer and session chair, IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference

  • Present2007

    RIT College and Career Presentations on Nanomaterials and Solar Engery

  • Present2008

    RIT- PhD Comprehensive Exams

  • Present2009

    RIT- Admissions Committee

Honors, Awards and Grants

  • 2013
    Trustee Scholarship Award, RIT
    Bausch and Lomb Endowed Chair – 201The primary evaluation criteria for the RIT Board of Trustees Scholarship Award (as expressed in policy E12.2) are as follows:

    • Demonstrated record of excellent scholarship at RIT over a sustained period.
    • Scholarship must be integral to, and not separated from all aspects of a student’s education experience at RIT.
    • Scholarship that fits within one or more of the following classifications: teaching/pedagogy, application, integration, or discovery.

  • 2011
    PI Millionaire Award, RIT
    Each of the principal investigators on funded research projects has secured, from a variety of sources, research support of at least $1 million.

  • 2007
    Batting 1000 PI Award, RIT

    Principal Investigators recognized for earning a research grant with their first-ever proposal at RIT.Bausch and Lomb Endowed Chair – 2012Principal Investigators recognized for earning a research grant with their first-ever proposal at RIT.Principal Investigators recognized for earning a research grant with their first-ever proposal at RIT.